I have yet to meet someone who says, “Nope. I’m not a kind person and I have no intention of changing.”
We might agree that we have a little work to be done in the kindness area, but generally people seem to think they are doing a pretty good job of treating others well.
In a study of 100 young people with gang affiliations, the kids rated their level of kindness as “high” and cited evidence such as, “I help my mom carry in the groceries.”
It’s rare when we can both see our deficiencies and are also willing to do the hard work of changing ourselves for the better.
Sometimes it’s easier to go through life on autopilot, but as Lori from Ohio shares, when we really strive to become our best selves, we alter the way others do life as well.
“In my Bible study, we recently decided to do a weekly act of kindness, and then share our adventures with the group when we meet. That in itself has been quite rewarding.
I have also been listening to The Kindness Podcast and have been encouraged and motivated to start my own personal kindness challenge, aside from my Bible study ‘homework.’
During this time I have been talking through my experiences with my husband, Tim, not realizing how contagious kindness really is.
One night, Tim came home from the gym holding his sweaty clothes in his hands. With a quirky grin on his face, he asked me, ‘Would you like to know why I am carrying my clothes?’
He went on to explain that he had been changing in the locker room after his workout and right across from him was a man who appeared to be homeless getting ready to shower.
My husband noticed that the bag the man was using was very worn and actually had a large hole in the side. When Tim asked him about the bag, the man told him in a shocked and defensive tone that he has had this bag for years and uses it to carry his food.
Tim said, ‘I noticed the hole’ and without hesitation, my husband emptied his athletic bag and gave it to the man. The man was a little taken aback but graciously accepted it.
When Tim came home and shared that story I was elated and very proud of him. He said ‘I did my act of kindness for the day’ but then hesitated, waiting for my reaction.
What shocked and maybe even disturbed me was how surprised my husband was by my response. He said he thought I would be mad since I had given him that bag.
Wow, was that a self revelation! I couldn’t have started my kindness challenge soon enough. I guess kindness really is contagious.”
Not only has Lori been changed by her efforts to be more kind, but so has her husband, and now even a stranger at the gym is benefitting.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.
Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is a writer, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Ohio University’s men’s head basketball coach Saul Phillips. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.